01.29.15

SCHUMER, BLUMENTHAL: METRO-NORTH MUST PROVIDE RAPID REPORT ON THE CAUSE OF LAST NIGHT’S DERAILMENT OUTSIDE OF GRAND CENTRAL – LUCKILY THERE WERE NO INJURIES, BUT ALL DERAILMENTS SHOULD BE FULLY INVESTIGATED TO AVOID FUTURE TRAGEDY FROM SIMILAR CAUSES

Schumer & Blumenthal, In Letter to Head of Metro-North, Call For Thorough Investigation into Last Night’s Derailment Outside of Grand Central Station & For A Clear Report on Actions Needed to Prevent Similar Derailments in the Future

The Senators Noted That Metro-North has Been Working to Improve Safety Across Its System After Several Recent Failings & Deadly Accidents – Derailment Shows More Must Be Done

 

Senators: This Time We Were Lucky to Report No Injuries, But There is No Time to Rest in Improving Our Rail Safety

 

Following last night’s derailment of a Metro-North train outside of Grand Central Station, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Richard Blumenthal called on the head of Metro-North to thoroughly investigate the cause of the derailment and to report quickly on the recommended actions that must be taken to avoid this type of accident from occurring again. The Senators noted that, luckily, there were no injuries caused by this accident, but a full investigation is necessary to avoid future tragedy. At a minimum, the Senators said, this derailment caused serious delays for the hundreds of thousands of daily  commuters on the Metro-North line.

 

“The most recent Metro-North derailment outside of Grand Central Station demonstrates that we are not fully on track towards a satisfactory record of safety on the Metro-North,” said Senator Schumer. “While we are lucky that this accident did not cause any injuries, we may not be so lucky in the future, and I am urging the Metro-North to fully and quickly investigate this accident, report back its findings and develop any further recommendations to avoid such an accident in the future.”

 

“No derailment is a minor derailment. Much more than a minor inconvenience, this disturbing multiple car derailment delays and disrupts travel for countless riders. The derailment, fairly or not, recalls past incidents – renewing concerns about safety and reliability,” said Senator Blumenthal.

 

The Senators commended Metro-North, the MTA and the Federal Railroad Administration for their quick response to Wednesday night’s derailment. They noted that the Metro-North has taken many important steps recently to improve safety across its system, following a series of deadly crashes and an NTSB investigation that revealed a lack of “culture of safety” on the rail line. That being said, the Senators noted, this derailment shows that more must be done.

 

A copy of the Senators’ letter to Metro-North President Joseph Giulietti appears below:

 

Dear President Joseph J. Giulietti,

 

We write today to raise serious concerns about the derailment that occurred last night as a Metro-North train was leaving the platform at Grand Central Terminal. Luckily, no injuries have been reported, however, as with any accident this derailment should be fully investigated and the causes should be immediately addressed. While we understand that it is still too early to fully understand what happened, we urge you to conduct a thorough and rigorous investigation into the derailment and ask that you report back to us on any and all of your findings.

 

We understand that in the last year Metro-North has been working to improve safety across its system. However, given the serious threat that derailments can pose to the traveling public we cannot let any issues go unaddressed and Metro-North must remain vigilant in its pursuit of the highest possible safety standards. This accident must be fully investigated and any issues which arise through the course of that investigation must be immediately addressed.

 

Following previous incidents the NTSB found that Metro-North had a policy of deferred maintenance and that it had prioritized on-time performance over the safety of the traveling public – this was simply unacceptable. As Metro-North works to improve its safety culture, addressing and preventing issues like the one that occurred last night is critical. Riders deserve to be confident that Metro-North is adequately addressing maintenance needs and prioritizing safety across its entire system. Furthermore, in the rare and unlikely event that an issue does occur Metro-North must move deliberately and swiftly to address it.

 

We urge you to complete a thorough investigation and report back to us on both your findings and any necessary actions to prevent derailments like the one that occurred yesterday. In addition, please update us on the latest findings and your planned reforms stemming from two incidents that occurred just last month – a passenger death and two trains sideswiping each other – which we understand are also under investigation.  Should you need further information or if you have additional questions please do not hesitate to contact our offices.


Sincerely,

 

Senator Charles Schumer                                            Senator Richard Blumenthal



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